Contractors say work on Keystone pipeline done; White House has no plans to revive it

President Joe Biden halted the Keystone pipeline after taking office in January 2021.

Updated: March 9, 2022 - 11:33pm

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The contractor for the Keystone XL pipeline is asking the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (SDPUC) to approve a motion that would end their operations.

TransCanada Keystone Pipeline LP filed a motion requesting the commission "release the indemnity bond, approve the removal of the public liaison officer because her work is finished, and accept Keystone's most recent quarterly report and the liaison's most recent quarterly report as final reports, thereby ending the reporting obligations."

The $15.6 million bond was issued when the project began in 2010.

"Keystone has no remaining activities in South Dakota that are within the scope of the permit or the conditions," the company said in the filing.

The SDPUC will consider the company's request Tuesday at its meeting.

President Joe Biden halted the Keystone pipeline project after taking office in January 2021, and it will not be revived, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during Wednesday's news briefing.

"The pipeline is just a delivery mechanism," Psaki said. "It's not an oil field, so it does not provide more supply into the system. It would not address any of the problems we're having currently."

State and federal lawmakers have called on Biden to restart work on the pipeline, saying the U.S. should be less dependent on foreign oil. Already high gas prices are soaring higher as the Biden administration stopped oil imports from Russia this week because of its invasion of Ukraine.

Twenty-five governors, including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, are asking Biden "to reverse his policies and restore America's energy independence for our citizens as well as our allies abroad."

"By removing his bans on new oil and gas development on federal lands, building the Keystone XL pipeline, and reinstating regulatory reforms to streamline energy permitting, we can protect our national energy security and sell to our friends rather than buy from our enemies — specifically Russia," the governors said in a letter to Biden.

A bill introduced in the U.S. House and Senate dubbed the American Energy Independence from Russia Act would authorize the construction and operation of the Keystone XL pipeline and remove regulatory hurdles to increase liquefied natural gas exports.

Meanwhile, gas prices are not expected to decrease any time soon.

The latest figures from AAA show the average U.S. gas price is $4.25 a gallon. The highest price is in California, where a gallon of gas costs $5.57. Kansas has the lowest price per gallon at $3.79.